July 19 – Sandinista Revolution Day in Nicaragua

Posted on July 19, 2015

I am not wanting to delve too heavily into the basis of this holiday. Suffice to say that the Sandinistas were a leftist (communist) group that organized in Nicaragua during the 1960s and 1970s to liberate the nation from the Somoza family dictatorship.

The Sandinistas were able to overthrow Somoza – but he destroyed a lot of his nation as he fled, AND he stole all of the nation's money in the treasury, as well!

The Sandinistas were idealistic, and they did make some important improvements in Nicaragua (including cutting back the percentage of people who couldn't read). However, most people still faced crippling poverty, and as the Sandinistas continued to rule the country, they did a few things such as closing down a newspaper that had been critical of one aspect of the government – things that made some observers worry that they were becoming more like the government that they had replaced.

I'm ashamed to say that my own nation, the U.S., meddled in some horrible ways with Nicaragua, funding the Contras who in the 1980s began to form a counter-revolution movement. The war between the Contras and the Sandinistas killed tens of thousands of people.

There were some bumps and struggles between then and now, but modern-day Nicaragua is a more stable representative democratic republic. And since 2007. Sandinista candidate Daniel Ortega has served as president.

Now that it's stable....

Nicaragua wasn't nearly as commonly visited as nearby Costa Rica, because for years people worried about revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries shooting it out in the jungles. But now that the country has become more stable, many adventurous tourists are traveling to the country to:

Hike volcanoes

Go volcano boarding

Tour the brightly-painted colonial architecture of Grenada

Hang out on the beaches, and visit the islands

Explore a cloud forest

Check out the sculptures of “Stone Man” Alberto Guiterrez

Hang out at Apoyo Lagoon (which isn't a lagoon, but rather a lake formed in the crater from an old volcano)

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